(This post was originally published on Thunder Matt's Saloon.)
To be honest, ever since the Saloon reopened, I've felt out of place. Afterall, this is predominantly a Chicago sports blog and although I have some really good friends that live in the Chicago area, the closest I have ever been to the Windy City is a visit to the airport (Maybe O'Hare? Is there more than one?)
Over the last few weeks, I been trying to figure out how I can fit in. How can a writer from Tampa contribute to a blog named after a Cub pseudo-hero/fourth fifth outfielder? Should I try to write about the Cubs, knowing sure well any Cubs fan worth their salt would see right through the chirade? Should I try to provide pop news, music reviews, movie talk, or other miscellaneous jibber-jabber that wouldn't really serve any purpose other than another update on your daily RSS feed?
As none of those ideas appealed to me, I slowly saw my talent and persona become irrelevant around these parts. I was the Kevin Maas of the site, a star that fizzled and died with the Chris Gaines-esque other site. I was a failed experiment, like the Cubs "College of Coaches" from back in the day.
Then, almost out of nowhere, an idea hit me. No, more than idea. This was an epiphany. A life-changing moment, at least as pertains to my life here at the Saloon.
Ladies and Gentlemen, and other fine readers of this blog, I bring to you "The Southern Thunder": Matt Joyce of the Tampa Bay Rays*.
(Let's for a second ignore the fact that the Rays just sent Joyce back down to Triple-A, ok?)
According to DRaysBay.com, Joyce is comparable to former Met, Brewer, Cub, etc Jeromy Burnitz. Burnitz, as many remember, definitely brought the thunder with his all-or-nothing approach. The man either struck out embarrassingly or hit the ball into next week. It's true, you can look it up. Right there on Baseball Reference.com it says "Burnitz, Jeromy - on 5/16/1999 hit a baseball that landed on 5/23/1999". At least it said that the last time I looked.
But Burnitz isn't the only carrier of thunder that Matt Joyce compares to. DRays Bay also compares him defensively to the patron saint of this site, the Honorable, Venerable, and Almighty Matt Murton.
So already this year Matt Joyce has begun his journey as a fifth outfielder with pop, with better than average corner outfielder fielding prowess, and a knack for being sent down to the minors. Although Matt Joyce is not red-headed, and therefore is merely a weak impersonation of the original Thunder Matt, I can't sit around all day waiting for the second coming of the baseball messiah. I need to throw my support to someone.
Therefore, it is my pleasure to hereby dub Matt Joyce of the Tampa Bay Rays Durham Bulls (hopefully Tampa Bay Rays again soon) "The Southern Thunder Matt".
Long live Thunder.